Gerd Muller rated best footballer by German legend Paul Breitner

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

KOLKATA - Celebrated German World Cupper Paul Breitner Tuesday rated compatriot Gerd Muller as the best footballer of the last half a century.

“In my opinion, Gerd Muller is the best footballer of the last half century or so,” Breitner told media persons here.

On a visit to Kolkata to play a charity match Wednesday between East Bengal Allstar and Bayern Munich F.C. Allstar teams, Breitner said: “We are pleased to be a part of the noble cause for which the match is being played. At the same time, we are glad that we can give something back to football which has taught and given us a lot over the years.”

The proceeds from the game will be utilised to provide education, better health and hygiene facilities and for the economic independence of street children.

Breitner began and ended his career by playing for Bayern Munich (1970-1974 and 1978-1982). At the beginning of his career, he used to play as free roaming left back and towards the end of his career he played mostly in mid-field.

“I am probably the first person to play in defence as well as in the midfield, examples of which are set by Philipp Lahm in present day football matches,” said Breitner.

Breitner’s early peak of long and successful career started at the age of 21 when he was a member of a victorious German side in the European Championship which was closely followed by winning the 1974 World Cup at Munich against Netherlands.

In the final of the 1974 World Cup, he scored the first German goal through a penalty kick and then put up a water-tight defence with his colleagues Franz Beckenbauer and Berti Vogts which prevented the Dutch from scoring and winning the World Cup. He retired after being defeated by Italy in the 1982 World Cup final.

“The loss in the World Cup final of 1982 against Italy is the kind of thing you try and forget and try not to even remember the tiniest of details,” he said.

Breitner was capped 48 times for his country and is one of the four footballers to have achieved the feat of scoring in two different World Cup final matches other than Pele, Vava and Zidane.

The German legend further said: “Germany can help Indian football towards improvement by sending German coaches for training Indians and also playing against Indian teams in the near future.”

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